While things are progressing nicely at York, Widnes have some thinking to do as to how they go forward following the sudden departure of coach Tim Sheens.
He’s had an eventful spell in the English game, first as director of rugby at Salford up to 2016, when he became coach of Hull KR, relegated from Super League following defeat by the Red Devils in the Million Pound Game.
He then got Rovers back up at the first attempt before being axed midway through last season after a run of defeats.
It was a bold appointment by Widnes last October, and while it seemed a little strange to see such a decorated coach, who of course won the World Cup with Australia in 2013, in charge of a part-time team, he seemed to be getting stuck into the job.
Widnes won five out of seven before lockdown, and he had started making significant signings for next season, with training due to begin next month.
While Sheens was apparently frustrated to have lost a key right-hand man in Jamie Elkaleh, who worked with him at Salford and Hull KR and joined him at Widnes before being told he wasn’t being retained for 2021, his resignation appears to have been unexpected.
I’ve seen suggestions he would like another role in the English game, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he chose to retire. After the success he had with Canberra and Wests as well as Australia, he has nothing to prove.
As for Widnes, I hope they can find a replacement who will help get things back on an even keel after a turbulent few years.
The Vikings have the advantage of a sizeable and very loyal fanbase, and it would be great to see those people being rewarded for sticking by their club.
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